You never want to write off a draft pick after just one season because often it takes time to see that player develop. Some selections are obvious home runs like the CeeDee Lamb pick in the first round last year, while others leave you with not enough information to make a decision. And that’s where two of their 2020 draft picks fall; Bradlee Anae and Reggie Robinson.
As the draft unfolded last April, several players that were well liked by the Dallas Cowboys continued to slip. The Cowboys were able to select Robinson in the fourth round after there was some thought he could be their selection in the second round. Similarly, Bradlee Anae, one of the most productive pass rushers in the draft fell to the fifth round.
Both selections were held with high esteem as it was thought the Cowboys got tremendous value on two players who could potentially turn into solid depth for the Cowboys defense. Unfortunately, after playing very little (Anae has six defensive snaps and Robinson had zero defensive snaps) we still don’t know what their future holds for the Dallas Cowboys.
Reggie Robinson, a safety in high school who moved to corner, and moved to safety his rookie year is a player who could play a lot of roles in your secondary. While initial reports had him moving back to cornerback this year, the thought is that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn might also want to give him a look at safety first before moving him back to cornerback.
Whatever position they play him at, just play him.
What was always interesting with Reggie Robinson is that the Cowboys never seemed willing to make the switch back to cornerback in 2020 as they dealt with injuries in their secondary. Instead they promoted practice squad players and left a Robinson on the bench to redshirt.
After losing Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys have a lot of snaps up for grabs in the secondary. Yes, Demontae Kazee is slated to be your starting free safety, but coming off an injury, there might be an opportunity to run Robinson out there with the first team to manage Kazee’s workload as he works his way back in.
The Cowboys might still move him back to cornerback depending on how the draft goes in a couple of weeks. If they’re unable to secure a plug and play cornerback with one of their top 50 picks in the NFL Draft, then they may need Robinson over at corner to provide some competition.
As for Bradlee Anae, his situation was quite different. Anae was caught up in the logjam at defensive end and designated pass rusher. With DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Aldon Smith, and Dorance Armstrong, it was going to be tough to break through and get some defensive snaps. Surprisingly, the Cowboys were relatively healthy at the position leaving little opportunity for the rookie from Utah.
An opportunity to move up the depth chart has presented itself though as Aldon Smith has signed a deal with the Seattle Seahawks leaving just Lawrence, Gregory, and Armstrong ahead of him in the defensive end rotation.
Edge rusher is a sneaky need in the draft and could be the direction they go in the top two rounds if the Cowboys were to trade back. But if they don’t add a defensive end with a premium pick, Anae will be in a great position to top his six defensive snaps from 2020.
Though the 2021 NFL Draft is taking much of our focus right now, the Cowboys do have depth options from the 2020 draft that can help them this year as well. Much like we’ve seen with Donovan Wilson, sometimes it just takes time to get put on the field by a coaching staff and given an opportunity to prove you belong. For Reggie Robinson and Bradlee Anae, here’s hoping 2021 is the year they get that opportunity.